Nuffield Place

Yesterday was E’s birthday so we had a family day out to Nuffield Place, near Nettlebed in Oxfordshire.  The estate was opened to the public by the National Trust in 2011.  It is the time-capsule home of the philanthropist William Morris, Lord Nuffield, the founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of the richest men in the world during his life time.  He lived in the house from 1933 until his death in 1963.

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Nuffield Place from the Back Lawn

Lord Nuffield gave much of his wealth to good causes (about £8 billion in today’s terms) and his house reflects a relatively modest lifestyle. Lord and Lady Nuffield’s personal possessions remain as they left them with the decor and furnishings intact, making it a perfect example of a complete 1930s country home.   I was amazed by the stories of his generosity, the fact that he never had the latest car to come off the Morris production line and what a modest lifestyle the Morris’ lived.  Truly inspirational.

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Inside the house, many of the rooms are open and full of the Morris’ own furniture.  It has the feel of a warm and loving house even though they never had any children.  I particularly liked the drawing room where they would have entertained their friends, and Lady Nuffield’s sewing room which had a sweet fireplace.

Drawing Room

Drawing Room

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Items in the Sewing Room

Sewing Room

Sewing Room

Sewing Room Fireplace

Sewing Room Fireplace

Outside the gardens are lovely and there were lots of alliums in flower

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I loved the succulents growing in the dry stone walls

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the relaxed topiary

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and finally..the Morris MG parked at the front door

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I bought some wild flowers – white clover, red campion and mallow to plant in my wild flower area at home and to remind me of such a lovely place full of visual inspiration and positive values.

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Willow Weaving

Last weekend I went on a willow weaving course run by Windrush Creative to learn how to make my own garden supports – wigwams for growing sweet peas and beans up; supports for perennials such as Delphiniums and Peonies etc.

The course took place at Cogges Manor Farm which is in Witney, Oxfordshire. Cogges is a Victorian Working Farm and is operated by a Heritage Trust who lease the farm from Oxfordshire County Council.  It is a magical place, great for a day out with children and where you can feed the animals and explore the beautiful Farm House.

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Because the weather was so lovely we worked outside which gave lots of visitors to the farm an opportunity to see what we were doing. Our lovely tutor Linda gave us lots of help and guidance and started us off making a willow wigwam. This involved using 8 strong willow uprights (straight willow branches) to form a circle, before beginning to weave thinner willow in and out of the uprights.
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It took me a while to get the hang of twisting the willow in and out of the uprights but once I got going I made my wigwam pretty quickly and also used Cornus to inject some red.
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You can use the same techniques for making a hurdle fence
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I had a lovely day and Windrush are so professional and lovely. They provided us with a gorgeous home made lunch of baked potatoes, home made salads, bread and cake and there was a selection of tea, coffee, water and biscuits available all day. The course ran from 10am until 4pm and for £69 including lunch I though it was fantastic value for money.

Kirsty x

Lancashire Lass

Last week I went ‘home’ to Lancashire to see my parents for a few days taking the 2 youngest boys along for a bit of a holiday.  I haven’t lived there for over 20 years, since I left University, but I still consider it to be home and am proud to be a Lancashire Lass who hasn’t lost her accent, or love for meat and potato pies and chips with gravy.

We spent quite a bit of time just chilling out at Mum and Dad’s, playing in the garden, swimming and doing local walks.  I went to visit my brother’s grave as it is nearly 3 years since he died.  He is in a lovely spot next to fields and it is a really peaceful place although it still upsets me to think that his life was so short; he died at the age of 37.

Towards the end of the week I took Mum and the Littlest to Sizergh Castle, a National Trust property on the edge of Kendal.  Sizergh is a medieval property set in beautiful countryside at the gateway to the Lake District.  It is still lived in by the Strickland Family and boasts a lot of ancient wood panelling some of which was in the V&A until it was returned to the house in 1999.  You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the house and although there were some interesting artefacts it wasn’t my favourite NT property.  I found it a bit dark and gloomy and it was very draughty.

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In the gardens there is a lot to see, and I would definitely recommend a visit during the Summer to see the Herbaceous Borders and the walled Kitchen Garden which looked very bare when we were there, because of the time of year.  However, Littlest loved the very scary Scarecrow 🙂

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He also loved pulling faces at his reflection in the water tank

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We loved the hens, especially the Lemon Cuckoo Neiderrheiner Cockerel who was strutting his stuff

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and generally running around to keep warm on what was a very cold day

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After lunch we went into Kendal to visit Williams Wools, a lovely wool shop on the High St which is owned by Adrienne Williams

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Th shop is a lovely haven of yarnie goods..there are local hand dyed yarns, as well as Rowan, Arancunia, Noro and many other brands. There is a really comfy sofa area in the middle of the shop and lots and lots of samples on display for inspiration

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I bought two skeins of Botany Lace to make a striping shawl, the variegated mustard yellow/grey in the middle and the solid mustard yellow on the right

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It was a lovely few days in a lovely part of the world.

Kirsty x

Vintage Rail..oh and Thomas the Tank Engine

Today saw a family day out to Bucks Railway Centre which is a Railway Preservation Centre based at what was Quainton Road Station near Aylesbury in South Buckinghamshire and about a 30 min drive from where we live.

The primary reason for going today was for the Littlest Collins to see Thomas.  He is completely mad on trains and really loves Thomas the Tank Engine, something we never really experienced with the two older boys.  We arrived for when the Centre opened at 10.30am and although busy it wasn’t so busy that there were long queues to ride on Thomas so we decided to do that first. Littlest one’s face on seeing Thomas when we got out of the car will stay with me for ever.  He was so so excited it actually made me cry..the lovely innocent joy of a nearly 3 year old.

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After this we went into the main museum. Quainton Road was opened as a station in 1868 and closed to passengers in 1963 under the Beeching report recommendations. It opened as a museum in 1969 and is run entirely by volunteers and has a number of steam locomotives on display

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Outside we find a loco that had been built in Glasgow to operate on the South African Railway

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The boys also had a blast on the Miniature Railway

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I found some great vintage advertising signs

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and some old suitcases and associated paraphernalia on the platform

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It was a great day and if you are ever in Buckinghamshire and fancy a visit you can find out more information here

Kirsty x

Great blog post from Team Pugh. I am also fascinated by this period in History particularly the Home Front and the Dig for Victory Campaign which I am currently researching.

A year without supermarkets

Now Becksie must confess that most types of history do not float her boat – knights at round tables, Vikings with pointy hats and very narrow boats, kings and queens of yesteryear! She isn’t being ignorant and understands why others find these subjects very interesting but for her they just don’t tick any boxes. Ian is quite into history as are Aunty Leah, Grandad Gray, Grannie Gray, Grannie Pugh and Grandpa Pugh (Becksie is not 100% sure of Uncle Phil’s thoughts but she knows for a fact he knows a lot about film history) so don’t panic Lizzie will by no means grow up ignorant of history.

However, all this said there is a little corner of history that Becksie LOVES! In fact it fascinates her! Becksie and her exclamations love food history! Well…….. she did say a little corner it’s not quite food history in general. It…

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